India, Russia to review defence ties



Moscow/New Delhi: India and Russia on Tuesday begin a review of the entire spectrum of their defence cooperation apart from exchanging views on regional and global security at the 11th inter-governmental commission on military technical cooperation in Moscow.

The meeting will be co-chaired by Indian Defence Minister AK Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov.

Among the issues that the two sides will discuss include the joint development of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) and medium transport aircraft (MTA). Indian Air Force will get 250 FGFAs and 45 MTAs later in this decade.

These apart, India and Russia will also review the refit of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier that the Indian Navy bought in 2004. The delivery of the warship has been delayed by four years and is expected to arrive only by the end of 2012.

Antony, who arrived here on an official visit on Monday, will "discuss urgent issues of bilateral relations in the (military) sphere", the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement in Moscow

The head of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Anatoly Isaikin, said in September that India remains Russia's largest strategic partner in military-technical cooperation.

He said Russia was taking part in 20 tenders in India, with which it has a military-technical cooperation agreement until 2020.

The cooperation programme stipulates that Russia will transfer the K-152 Nerpa attack submarine to India on a 10-year lease by the end of 2011. The deal was signed in 2004.

Other aspects of cooperation include the contract to supply India with 80 Mil Mi-17-V5 helicopters, four of which were delivered last week to IAF. The contract will be completed by the end of 2013.

The Indian delegation includes Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, Secretary (Defence Production) Shekhar Aggarwal, Lt Gen MS Buttar, Air Marshal RK Sharma, Vice Admiral NN Kumar, DRDO Chief Controller of Research and Development Avinash Chander, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited chairman and managing director Ashok Nayak and Director General (Acquisition) Vivek Rae.

Meanwhile, Antony today paid homage at the Victory Park to defence personnel who lost their lives during World War-II.

The Indian defence minister laid a wreath at the World War-II memorial as a mark of respect to the departed soldiers.

IANS